Top designers and celebrities are expected to hit stores around the world for Fashion's Night Out on Friday, while retailers hope the buzz spurs a much-needed spending resurgence by everyday consumers.
The second installment of Fashion's Night Out — which is being billed as an evening extravaganza packed with runway shows, shopping discounts and parties in major cities — is getting a major makeover this year in the Southland after the region's lackluster participation last year.
Southern California is fielding a slate of activities stretching from Newport Beach to Pasadena, including events at the Grove shopping center and on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Office of Economic and Business Policy is rallying retailers and encouraging shoppers to shop in the city to help generate sales tax revenue.
"At the end of the day, even though this is a fun event, it really comes down to economics," said Cynthia Ruiz, a commissioner for the city of Los Angeles who is heading the city's Fashion's Night Out initiatives. "It's really about supporting our retailers and supporting our fashion industry as a whole, and in turn that helps the city's financial issues as well.... What we're doing is rallying together behind one cause."
On Friday, the mayor will help kick off the event at 5 p.m. at the Beverly Center, which spent more than $150,000 to produce two runway shows, mall General Manager Jeff Brown said.
"We're basically creating our own stimulus package," he said. "The point is to create an incentive for shoppers to shop again."
The mall's runway shows will feature looks from stores including Bebe, Traffic, True Religion and Bloomingdale's. Black Eyed Peas singer will.i.am, celeb celebrity blogger Perez Hilton and cast members from television shows including "Glee" and "True Blood" are scheduled to attend.